I began undergraduate research in the first semester of my freshman year at UK in Dr. Kevin Pearson’s lab. I entered college set on going to medical school, but my undergraduate research experience quickly changed my career direction. After being involved with undergraduate research for three years in college, I aspire to become a physician-scientist. My major undergraduate research projects have focused on the effects of pregnancy exposure to various toxins, diets, or behaviors (such as smoking, exercise, polychlorinated biphenyls, nicotine) can impact offspring risk for long term disease risk. My undergraduate research career has afforded me opportunities to conduct research at UK in the summers via the Bucks for Brains grant and the Summer Undergraduate Research and Creativity Grants sponsored by the office of undergraduate research, and also at the NIH National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, MD. I have also presented my research at national conferences in San Antonio, TX, Philadelphia, PA, and Memphis, TN, and internationally in Bregenz, Austria. I graduated in December 2018 and I am currently working as a research technician in the Kevin Pearson laboratory in the UK College of Medicine. Moreover, I have also published my research in scientific journals and have been awarded nationally competitive awards for my research experience. Undergraduate research at the University of Kentucky has granted me many wonderful opportunities and has trained me in the skills that I will need to succeed as a graduate student and future physician-scientist. Most importantly, undergraduate research has actualized concepts which I learn in the classroom, such that these concepts are reinforced and illustrated to me in the lab and do not simply remain an “idea.” As a college student, participating in undergraduate research is a critical experience if you desire to see classroom concepts demonstrated in real life, and I recommend participating in research in the UK COM to any student who aspires to pursue a future career in medicine and biomedical science.
Press and recognition:
-UKNow Article written the Astronaut Scholarship and NIH Internship with youtube video: https://uknow.uky.edu/student-life/passion-science-earns-uk-junior-astronaut-scholarship-nih-internship , https://youtu.be/z9X7slpBcVQ
-2017 First Place in Oswald Research and Creativity Competition: http://www.uky.edu/superfund/uk-src/news/2017-12-12/uk-src-trainee-joshua-preston-wins-2017-oswald-award
-Interview featured in UK at the half during basketball game: http://www.uky.edu/superfund/uk-src/news/2018-03-26/uk-srcs-undergraduat...
-Pop Science article written about our recent paper: https://www.genengnews.com/news/maternal-smoking-linked-to-offspring-obe...
-NIEHS trainee of the month: https://tools.niehs.nih.gov/srp/1/eposted/pdfs/srp_e-posted_notes_2018-09-07_508.pdf